Durban — The defence for two women charged with the murders of a Newlands East mother and child has asked the court that they be acquitted of all counts levelled against them.
Legal Aid defence Zeera Fareed said this in the Durban High Court on Wednesday where the State and defence had been arguing on the merits of the case ahead of a ruling on judgment.
Smangele Simamane and her 12-year-old daughter Sbongakonke Mthembu were found dead, stuffed into a suitcase on Lwandle Drive in KwaDabeka in October 2020.
Slindile Pamela Zamisa and her daughter Andile Zamisa have been on trial charged with the murders, kidnapping as well as defeating the ends of justice.
In court, Fareed argued that both accused should be acquitted on all counts.
“Instructions from both accused are that they were not present when both deceased died, and both maintain that both deceased never entered the house,” she said.
Evidence has been led in court by two State witnesses, Nomfundo True Love Ngcobo and Sthembiso Nicholas Lamula, who were convicted and sentenced for their part in the murders and disposing of the bodies.
Ngcobo is Slindile Zamisa’s stepdaughter and Lamula had been her lover.
“Accused one (Slindile) and two (Andile) deny that they assisted Lamula dispose of the bodies. Nomfundo pleaded guilty, she is a self-confessed criminal and was a single witness of the murder. Her evidence should be treated with caution,” said Fareed.
Previously in court, Ngcobo testified that she and Andile had assaulted Simamane with their hands as well as a plastic pipe, four kettles of boiling water were poured onto her body, Andile strangled her with a rope while a teenager who was present pressed a shovel against her neck.
Further that the attack had stemmed from a prophecy by a relative that Simamane had a hand in the murder of Slindile Zamisa’s late husband, Bheki Ngcobo.
The assault and murders all took place in the Zamisa home.
Testimony was that muti was allegedly found in the pocket of Sbongakonke’s nightgown and Slindile Zamisa had told the child to swallow the said muti, she told her to lay on the ground and pressed her foot against her neck.
The defence’s case relied on evidence led by the two Zamisa women who took the stand. The women in their testimony said that Ngcobo in July had stabbed Nhlanhla Zamisa, accusing him of killing her father, Bheki Ngcobo.
“The court should take into consideration that Nomfundo did not witness how Sbonga died. We know that she testified that she saw accused one (Slindile) put her foot on the neck of Sbonga and told her to swallow muti but did not witness how Sbonga died. Nomfundo is not a reliable witness, she had an axe to grind with accused one. Even though Nomfundo denied stabbing Nhlanhla Zamisa, both accused say she did, accusing him of killing Bheki Ngcobo. And she, therefore, had an axe to grind with both accused,” argued Fareed.
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